April 25, 2014 CSL--Winning Winstars Enter The CSL...Strong player development partnership with YRS (from CSL website)
WINNING WINSTARS ENTER THE CSL...Strong player development partnership with YRS Oakville Winstars was once described as ‘a Canadian amateur soccer dynasty of international proportions’ following a series of successes in the 90s and into the early years of 2000 and the name has been prominent ever since for a host of good reasons, including today’s highly regarded Winstars Soccer Academy, now based in Woodbridge, Ontario. But in those early years it was the other side of Toronto close to the shores of Lake Ontario that Winstars was born with the help of sponsor Ford Motor Company in Oakville, a time the new Windstar minivans were rolling off the assembly line and often seen leaving the Ford property for the Queen Elizabeth Way on their way to transport young Winstars soccer players for a game somewhere in the region (note the name change from the orginal Ford Windstars minivan). Oakville Winstars was launched by the Oakville Soccer Club president of the day, Charlie Sciberras, together with Bobby Graham, now the academy director of Winstars Soccer Academy. Sciberras held an important position with the car maker, while Graham was becoming known as one of soccer’s top technical people in Ontario. A more up-to-date description lists the Scottish-born Graham as one of the most knowledgeable coaches in North America following many years with Canadian teams at U.S.-based tournaments - the best-known being the prestigious annual Dallas Cup. Successes for Oakville Winstars at home were commonplace in those days, including in the Canadian National Championship. Graham and his Winstars Academy Group have entered a team in the CSL Second Division, to known as Winstars Shooters following an affiliation arrangement and close alignment with York Region Shooters. Graham holds a long list of awards following decades of support and encouragement from his father, Bill Graham, 80, who today is the only living member of the original four who started the Oakville Soccer Club, one of the largest community soccer organizations in Canada with more than 12,000 players and a trophy list of eight national championships and 55 Ontario Cups. “I am really excited to be part of the Shooters organization and the CSL following a friendship of many years with York Region Shooters’ president Tony De Thomasis with whom I share a close philosophical approach to player development,” said Graham in announcing the partnership. The CSL Second Division will provide tough competition for a Winstars Shooters team of the more promising academy players and these players will also have an opportunity for games in the York Region First Division team. “We are really pleased to be working with the Winstars to add CSL competition to what is already a superb academy environment – the players will benefit even more,” said De Thomasis. Winstars Shooters will play their CSL Second Division opener against Niagara United on May 25 at the St. Joan of Arc ground in Maple, a 4 pm kickoff.
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